Passport Awareness Month: Vacation vs. Staycation

Did you know that NC State has its own on-campus Passport Services to support the university’s students, faculty, staff, and local community?

September is Passport Awareness Month, and Passport Services at NC State wants to make sure that our campus and local communities are up to date on all of the latest passport and travel tips to get you to your travel destinations safely and worry-free. (And to make sure you don’t end up on staycation.)

Read below to check out some of the common questions we receive about international travel at our office, and schedule an appointment online to come in and apply for your own passport.

  • What documents do I need to provide to show that I’m a U.S. citizen?

Did you know that both parents’ names are required to be listed when using a birth certificate to apply for a passport? Primary examples of evidence of citizenship can include a fully-valid, undamaged U.S. passport, a U.S. birth certificate listing both parents’ names, a consular report of birth abroad, a naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship. Only original copies are acceptable. Secondary evidence may be provided if necessary.

  • What’s the deal with Real ID?

Starting in October 2020 in North Carolina, you will not be allowed to get on an airplane with a regular North Carolina driver’s license, even to fly domestically. You will need an enhanced ID to board a plane, such as a passport, passport card, or a Real ID. You can apply for a Passport Card from Passport Services or a NC Real ID from the DMV.

  • Why should I check my passport expiration date?

Adult passports are valid for 10 years, so you might not have checked your expiration date in a while, but if you plan on traveling soon you might want to! Passports for minors (under 16 years old) only last five years, so your passport from childhood, or your child’s passport, might need to be renewed. Adult passports may be renewed by mail, but child passports and first-time adults must be done in person.

Do you need a passport urgently? If you are traveling in two weeks or less, emergency appointments can be made at select Regional Passport Agency locations.

  • I just checked, and my passport is expired! How can I renew my passport by mail?

Check if you qualify for renewal by mail hereIf you qualify, you can fill out and mail in Form DS-82 with your old passport, any name change documents, a passport photo, and passport fees through the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Does my passport expiration date have different validity depending on where I’m traveling?

Did you know that many countries require your passport to have six months of validity from return date to enter the country, regardless of the length of your stay? Renew your passport with plenty of time before traveling to avoid being denied entry. This applies to much of the world, although not for Canada or Mexico.

  • I’m going on a European adventure. What’s the Schengen area I keep hearing about?

The Schengen Agreement is a treaty creating the Schengen Zone, which encompasses 26 European countries to allow for ease of travel. Visa-free visitors (including U.S. citizens) are allowed to stay in the area for three months, provided that their passport does not expire for six months from the date of entry and they carry their passport at all times. Be sure to get a stamp when entering and exiting the zone and check individual country requirements ahead of time.

  • My child needs a passport. How do I apply for them?

Child passports are different than adult passports. They are only valid for five years, and must be renewed in person. Both parents must be present with an official photo ID. Check for special circumstances, like absence of a parent or adoption. Fill out the form DS-11. The information must be the child’s – not the parent’s. Children also have a different fee than adult passports due to their five year validity.

  • What do I need to know if I am undergoing a gender designation change and am applying for a passport?

Passports are valid for different lengths of time depending on where you are in your gender transition. In addition to the regularly-required passport application documents, you must submit:

  • ID that resembles your current appearance
  • A passport photo that resembles your current appearance
  • A medical certification that indicates you are in the process of or have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition
  • Proof of legal name change (if applicable)

More information, including a template medical certification, is available on the Department of State website.

  • Does my pet need a passport?

Taking a pet overseas? Each country has its own regulations regarding health and agriculture that may affect traveling with an animal. Before planning a trip, check with the embassies of where you will visit to get the information you need. It is also important to communicate with the airline you travel through. Always have a plan in the event of a crisis. If the U.S. government evacuates you, they may not be able to aid your pet. Working animals are not considered pets and are accommodated.

  • How can I stay updated on important safety alerts about where I’m traveling?

For safer travel enroll in STEP – the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It is a free service that allows you to receive safety information about your destination(s) from the U.S. embassy and facilitates contact with the consulate, family, and friends in case of emergency.

Ready to apply for your passport? Come see us at 321 Witherspoon, across from the Student Health Center. Make an appointment and contact us with any questions. If you are renewing an adult passport, we will review your application. We also take passport photos.